- Congress wins Lok Sabha by-poll in BJP stronghold Gurdaspur
- State Congress chief Sunil Jakhar beats Swaran Salaria by 2 lakh votes
- Says win a referendum on BJP's performance at the centre
At a news conference in the evening Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that the win was the latest in a series of triumphs for the party. "Things are looking up for the Congress," he said.
State Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, who trounced BJP's Swaran Salaria by nearly 2 lakh votes, said it was a "referendum" on the NDA rule at the Centre. The people of Gurdaspur, he said, had sent a "strong message of their resentment" to policies pursued by the Centre.
Captain Singh was among the first to congratulate Mr Jakhar.
Senior Congress leader and state minister Navjot Sidhu said, "This is a beautiful Diwali gift, packed with a red ribbon, for our would be party president Rahul Gandhi".
The Gurdaspur seat had fallen vacant following the death of actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna in April. Mr Khanna had won here four times on a BJP ticket. A victory would give much-needed boost to the party, which was pushed out of power in the state after a decade-long rule in alliance with the Akali Dal.
Six months ago, the BJP had contested four of the nine assembly segments under the Lok Sabha seat and won one -- Surjanpur. This time, the party had tried pulling all stops to retain the seat.
The AAP, which has 20 seats in the Punjab assembly, was also looking to strengthen its presence in the state with a by-poll victory.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the party had opened its account with four seats from Punjab. Following the huge victory in neighbouring Delhi in 2015, AAP had gone all out to contest the assembly elections in a big way, but came a distant second. This time, its candidate, Major General (Retd) Suresh Khajuria, polled 23,579 votes.